Pharrell Dons a Traditional Headress for Elle UK and Leaves a lot of Fans UN “Happy”

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Super producer, song writer, author, culture curator and fashion maverick Pharrell Williams has never shied away from pushing the envelope.

However, it appears this time he may have pushed it too far.

On the most recent (special edition) July cover of Elle UK magazine, the “Happy” singer dons a traditional Indian headdress that appears to be quite fitting.

The headdress accentuates his immaculate bone structure and highlights all of his God-given sexiness—wooo! Excuse me as I digress.

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Famous for his headgear, Pharrell has been rocking a variety of hats including his infamous “Smokey the Bear” high top fedora [designed by Vivienne Westwood ] but his most recent choice has landed him in a bit of hot water.

As many know fashion tends to draw inspiration from different cultural styles from around the world and often industry professionals straddle the thin lines between love it or hate it.

Many are concerned because the Indian headdress is an exclusive and ceremonial gift bestowed upon chiefs and warriors of a tribe.

To see Pharrell donned in such a culturally significant article, seems almost like a mockery of the scared Indian tradition.

The cover has many people wondering, where the cultural sensitivity is in this matter.

Not to worry, Pharrell made a statement apologizing for his fashion Fopaux:

“I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”

Now this leads to the bigger picture of how the fashion industry (and beyond) uses culture as a costume.

Street Intellectuals, what are your thoughts?

Have cultural traditions loss their significance, as they’ve become the mainstream fashion statements?

Karl Lagerfeld Shares The Key Message Behind The Fendi S/S’14 Collection

To see whats behind ya’ know….because you have ideas but you have to put them all together and make a choice of your idea….it’s too easy to say that it’s a simple basic idea….it’s too easy to say this is like this and we do this….it comes out when you work on it ya’ know…..there is no recipe or something like this to make a collection…I don’t believe in that.”

Saving the earth one Artist at a time – Daniella 

New York, London, Paris, and Milan; everyone is in a frenzy over fashion week

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week starts February 6-13, 2014

Yes, it is that time of year again… Fashion Week! Or month rather. Mercedes Benz Fashion week is already underway and coming to a close. If you weren’t able to make it to New York don’t worry we’ve got the Street Intell. You can still view a live show or two here.

Here is a list of the other major Fashion Week shows coming up:

London Fashion Week

LONDON WOMEN’S Fashion Week starts February 14-18, 2014

MILAN Fashion Week starts February 17-23, 2014

Watch the happenings in Milan live here.

PARIS Fashion Week starts February 25- March 5, 2014

Watch the happenings in Paris live here.

@Pharrell teams up with @GstarRaw to create Eco-Friendly Fashion #RawfortheOcean

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Just a few days ago at the American Museum of Natural History, Pharrell Williams along with G Star Raw and Bionic yarn announced their new collaborative collection ‘Raw for the Ocean’. This conscious fashion came as a welcomed addition to all the New York Fashion Week happenings.

Raw for the Oceans is a campaign centered around saving the beautiful aquatic habitats that we all enjoy. The project will be an ongoing initiative to collect littered plastic from the ocean. That material will then be recycled into Bionic Yarn, which will be sewn into denim jeans for the new eco-friendly denim line. The RAW for the Oceans collection in set to hit stores this summer, August 15 to be exact.

 

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week “BERLIN” Autumn/Winter 2014

photo (1) Bitter but very sweet feeling, today is the last day for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week ‘BERLIN’ (Autumn/Winter 2014: January 14-17).  With a complicity of various designers and models, a range of collections were mainly focusing on layers and silhouettes this year. Each designer owned “The Look” and delivered a fashion forward statement with each and every garment of clothing.

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Designers such as Julian Zigerli, Miranda Konstantinidou, Patrick Mohr, and Riani whose vibrant colors lit the room, giving the models twinkles in their eyes as they strut the runway. With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week ‘New York’ (Fall/Winter 2014) only two weeks away, I hope they’re fully prepared and bringing their A-Game! It’s going to be very interesting to see the comparison between the too. I’m very excited and can’t wait to see what the Fashion World has prepared for us these next couple of weeks. Stay tuned in!!!!

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Saving the earth one artist at a time – Daniella

@EvaMarcille hosts new TV series ‘African Inspired’, which is set to premiere in the new year!

If you are like most people following popular culture you have probably noticed the countless “tribal” trends popping up on the scene. From ankara printed pants and dresses, turbans, kente cloth shoes, and more … every designer seems to be influenced to make garments and accessories that resemble traditional African garb. Have you ever wonder where these trends come from? Well wonder no more. Fashion model, tv host and actress Eva Marcille is bringing us a new series  focused on tracking down these trends and their origins.

The new series entitled African inspired will be reaching out to designers that create African inspired pieces and unlocking the history behind the various trends we enjoy today. We are looking forward to seeing all that will be showcased. It’s seldom that Africans are acknowledge and saluted for their contributions to fashion.  We’re interested in seeing who all will be potential featured designers and even hope to have our favorite New York designers Darlene and Lizzy of William Okpo on the series. Although the Okpo sisters garments are modern they consist of many common elements of the African design aesthetic which we believe would be a great addition to the show.  We applaud Eva and crew for bringing forward such positive imagery of African (read: black) culture in the media.

If you are an African brand or African Inspired designer send your portfolio and look book to AfricanInspired@r-ajwa.com and then keep us posted if you get selected. We’d love to share in your excitement! Remember to send all looks before Dec. 20th.

Ignorance or Apathy? #Hallowood2013 CULTURE IS NOT A COSTUME!

It’s since been noted that the fashion industry hasn’t always been quite informed on the task of understanding Africans or their African descendants [African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino…]. Although residing in the age of information, we are not surprised by the lack of knowledge.

However, in any realm cultural sensitivity should be of great importance, especially in an industry where design inspiration is usually pulled from all types of traditional influences. It’s one thing to find inspiration in a specific culture’s garb and replicate it. But it is utterly disgusting to try  and embody another culture through mimicking what you’ve  perceived o be an accurate social characteristic.

The nonsense of distasteful representation of Africans continues; this time in the name of Halloween “fun”. Just this past Saturday noted Italian photographers, insiders, designers and the lot gathered in Milan for #DiscoAfrica.

At the event guest dressed in outfits that they presumed were fitting representations of the African. Although this party was thrown to pay homage and celebrate African influences in fashion such as veteran model, the unconquerable Grace Jones. It turned into a spectacle in which the blatant disrespect and unacceptable views of African people were made evident.

One might raise the argument that the nature of this event is based around sheer lack of knowledge. But this notion of parading around in black face “for fun” is no longer excusable.


Just a short 6 months ago, in the May 2013 editorial for Vogue Netherlands models appeared in black face stirring up these same issues. So what does that say about the state of the fashion industry? It appears that the community is uneducated, right? Wrong. If this type of incredulous behavior persists and people keep responding with disdain, why keep doing it? Why is this something that keeps being showcased time and time again?

There is a thin line between ignorance and apathy, it is evident that some of these individuals are aware but they choose not to acknowledge their distasteful behavior. You can’t constantly say ” forgive them because they know not what they do.” To be unaware that this type of racial profiling is wrong can no longer be a crutch to rest on, especially with the power of the internet, news and social media. This is an open slap in the face to African people and their descendants because it is a conscious and continuous disregard. What has to be done for more people to recognize that making fun of a culture through racist (yes, I said racist) associations whether purposeful or not is NOT flattering?!

To the international fashion community and anyone under informed:
CULTURE IS NOT A COSTUME!!! Get that thought in your heads and cut it out! Be inspired to create tasteful representations and if you are unsure of what is appropriate, consult someone that looks like what you want to represent. Apathy is a far uglier disease than cancer, get well soon.

Until next time… Street Intellectuals stay positive and progressive!

-Leta F